Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lean Roundup #17 - October, 2010

Here is the next addition of the most requested feature. The Lean Roundup is a selection of highlighted posts from other Lean bloggers from October, 2010.

What Leaders Need to Think? – Dragan Bosnjak says that leaders be concerned to create and train their successors.

Create a System That Lets People Take Pride in Their Work – John Hunter talks about allowing people to take pride in what they do instead of trying to empower them.

Want a Successful Lean Event? Preparation and Process are Everything – Connor Shea describes several elements to make your Lean event successful.

Back to Basics: The Key to Improving Performance – Gregg Stocker explains why it is important to focus on the process and not just the results if you want to show results.

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – Jamie Flinchbaugh shares his thoughts on adult learning.

5 Lean Things Your Accounting Dept. Can Do Immediately to Help Cash Flow – Jon Wetzel shares some great advice on where to start thinking Lean in accounting.

Telling "How" Removes Responsibility – Mark Hamel says don’t tell them how to solve the problem but coach by asking probing questions.

10 Mistakes in Starting Lean Enterprise Transformations – John Miller shares some advice on what mistakes to avoid from experience when transforming to a Lean enterprise.

Beyond Kaizen Events – Brad Schultz explains why you want to accelerate your improvements past events to prevent pockets of success.

The "Lean Group" Syndrome – Ron Pereira shares his thoughts on why the improvement group approach to Lean is really L.A.M.E.

The gap with the ideal is a good place to define objectives – Steven Spear explains how to set goals in a Lean environment.

The Button Can Push Itself: Tools Mastery vs Concept Mastery – David Kasprzak says to focus on the thinking instead of the tools for real improvement.

What is hansei? – Dragan Bosnjak explains what hansei is with a Japanese kindergarten school example.

Lean Methods Make Gaps Visible – Pascal Dennis shares some thought on how Lean Methods make gaps visible.

How a burnt out light at the Dentist's office gave me a better teeth cleaning – Jon Wetzel explains the importance of having a standard from a recent visit to the dentist.

Organization Development: A Visual Presentation with International Flair – Charles Wolfe talks about a successful organization development in terms of fall foliage in New England.

Why Shortage vs Stock is Not Really a Tradeoff – James Mok explains the financial tradeoff between either risking a shortage or maintaining too high a stock level.

Lean Myth: Lean is Stressful for Workers – David Veech says that while change is not easy lean is really about reducing worker’s stress.

This is Not a Tree – Jamie Flinchbaugh reminds us that data is a representation of reality that must be analyzed and challenged.

It's About Time – Jeff Hajek provides a comprehensive list of time terms that are used in business and continuous improvement.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Lean Quote: The Only Lasting Thing is Self-Motivation

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation." -  Homer Rice

Self-motivation is not something which you can buy. Self-motivation is a form of self-encouragement. You tell yourself that you have the capacity to perform still better and surge ahead. This keeps you pushing further until you reach your goal.


Being self-motivated is an important quality to have in the workplace. It means that you know exactly what needs to be done and will do it without having to be asked twice. You may even go beyond what is asked for you because you enjoy your job so much or because you want to achieve success in your career.

Self-motivation is a process where one needs lots of reflection and self-assessment. These are very important because it will help you to know what your strengths as well as your weaknesses are. If you know what your strengths are, then you will be able to continue what you are doing and even enhance it. On the other hand, knowing one’s weaknesses is as equally as important because through this, you will know what areas you should improve on. If you know your weaknesses, you may be able to turn these into opportunities which will make you successful in the future.

One thing that can help you get started with self-motivation is to continue learning different things. If you don’t stop learning new things, you will be able to acquire new skills that can help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Through self-motivation, people are given the chance to maneuver or control their own lives which in the future will help them be the best that they want to be.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lean Tips Edition #4


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lean Product Development Process

I have the opportunity to present at the 2010 CONNSTEP Manufacturing & Business Conference on Novemebr 11.  The conference is built on continuous improvement and profitable growth – providing companies with the critical skills necessary to set a new direction and compete in the global recovery. With two keynotes and over 31 workshop opportunities, the conference will bring together leaders at every level and within every industry including manufacturing, healthcare and process based businesses.

Jamie Flinchbaugh will be the afternoon keynote speaker talking about changing behaviors through daily actions.  Mark Graban will also be presenting on how lean thinking helps hospitals.  I will be presenting on a Lean Product Development Process.

I thought I would share some of my thoughts on product development in terms of a Lean process.  Here is the abstract for my presentation:

Lean Product Development Process

Lean thinking is an enterprise strategy to grow your business profitably. For a business to grow profitably there are essentially two elements that are needed: Lean and Innovation. You need innovative products, technologies, and services that people really want. And this all needs to be done with operational excellence to compete in a global consumer driven market.

A Lean Product Development Process comprises 3 basic elements: (1) driving waste out of the product development process, (2) improving the way projects are executed with stage-gate A3 management process, and (3) visualizing the product development process.

The first step in eliminating waste from New Product Development (NPD), and thus improving the process, is to learn to identify the eight wastes.  By closely examining the entire NPD process from a Lean perspective, the opportunities to drive out waste and increase value will become obvious.

Improving the execution of individual activities with the use of Lean tools is the next step.  A stage-gate review process helps to define the process utilized in development while reducing the risk of development.  The A3 management process is used to solve problems, gain agreement, mentor, and lead projects.

The last step is to bring visual factory techniques to your product development process.  Visual boards displaying necessary information provides the status at a glance.  Stand-up meetings in combination with the visual boards allow for optimized communication and with a bias for action.

There are a number of best practices within the realm of Lean Product Development but with only 60 minutes I think this represents a practical place most organizations can start.  If you can do this successfully you will have the building blocks to grow your business profitably.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Exhilarating Learning - "Northeast" Shingo Style


Last week I spent a couple days at The Sixth Annual Northeast Shingo Prize Conference in Providence, RI.  The conference was an exhilarating learning experience for me so I thought I would share some of those nuggets with you.

It is probably makes the most sense to start with some thoughts from Ritsuo Shingo, son of Shigeo Shingo whom the prize is named after, since he started the conference.  Mr. Shingo talked about Lean management.  He encouraged the audience to do more than "Go and See" but rather "Go and Watch".  We must observe with a purpose.  Something he called "Genbaism".  Don't just take a plant tour.  That is what i would call MBWA (Mangament By Walking Around).  For me that is nothing more than a plant or department tour which doesn't encourage improvement or develop people.  All problem solving starts with grasping the facts.  To make this point Ritsuo asked the audience which is more serious a small fire or a big fire?  Well, it depends.  We need further information.  The question you need to ask is if you leave it alone what will happend next?  The most severe consequence is the bigger problem.  Ritsuo had a saying that really stuck with me, "Show them your back!"  This is really about the attitude you bring every day to everything you do.  Leader must lead by example.  Everyone is watching what you are doing. 

Mike Wroblewski had a great talk on kaizen improvement events.  There is no one size fits all.  Kaizen is really a means to involve the people of the organization in improvement.  The main goal of kaizen is to develop people to think Lean.  Mike used a teaching example that everyone can relate to in their daily lives.  Got Milk!  He asked the audience to explain lean concepts in terms of milk in their home.  An example I am going to have to use in my teaching. 

Alice Lee had an inspirational speak on both a personal and professional Lean journey.  She starts with a human development model which symbolizes a 3 legged stool - Tools, Philosophy, and Management.  The discussion centered around the philosophy needed to change from a traditional organization to a transitional organization through to a transformational organization.  There are several key elements needed to become a transformational organization:  1) Direction and focus 2) Disciplined approach, avoid distractions 3) Total participation (everyone) and 4) Strive for "True North". 

David Meier also talked about kaizen from personal experience.  He said human beings love tools and we know tools are easier to learn.  He says people often think kaizen mean quick or rapid improvement but that is not necessary.  The countermeasure must match the problem.  He challenge the audience to find solutions by asking what can be done right now.  Don't stop at the first solution continue to find another solution.  The first answer is not always the best answer.  Using PDCA ensure the problem is solved.  According to David the top 5 mistakes in Kaizen are: 1) Jumping to solutions 2) Bias toward a particular idea (usually your own) 3) Stop at first workable solution 4) Failure to deeply explore alternatives and 5) Continue to pursue an idea without merit.

Lesa Nichols says Muri is the new Muda.  If we get rid of Muri (overburden) which is caused by Mura (uneveness) we can get rid of muda (waste).  We tend to go about this in the wrong order.  We must look for the visual signs of Muri in the forms of physical and mental stress.  Look at the eyes, ears, fingers, back, neck, and shoulders to find Muri within your process. 

Bruce Hamilton, a.k.a. Mr. Toast, closed the conference by reminding Lean Thinkers about conceptual blindspots.  Where do we look for improvement?  Process improvement leads to operational improvement not the other way round. We often find apparent efficiency by being productive on things we don't need.  Don't automate the waste, eliminate the waste.  Bruce defined 3 steps for improvement:  1) Basic concepts 2) Systems to give shape to those concepts and 3) Techniques for implementing those systems.  He encouraged everyone to avoid being one of the 3 types of engineers Shingo despised:  1) Table Engineer - sits around table and discusses ideas 2) Catalog Engineer - looks in catalog and buys solution and 3) Not Engineer - says you can't do that.  Bruce encouraged us to be "Can Do Engineers".  He concluded with Dr. Shigeo Shingo words and the theme of the conference this year, "Easier, Better, Faster, and Cheaper."  As with everything Shingo did or said this order was deliberate.  We often make the mistake of starting backwards.  Make the job easier, then better, then faster and it will be cheaper.

The best part of the conference was meeting the truly wonderful Lean Thinkers.  There was about 550 Lean advocates and thinkers all together with one purpose and that was sharing best practices.  It is from this that we can all improve and raise the bar of Lean Thinking.  I had the pleasure of meeting some favorite Lean bloggers at the conference and you can see their take on the conference below: 

Shingo Prize winning author and blogger at Gemba Tales Mark Hamel on Easier, Better, Faster, and Cheaper.
 
Mike Wroblewski, who inspired me to start my own blog, from Got Boondoggle? wrote a couple pieces If air travel worked like healthcare, Inspired by Shingo again, and Lean bloggers at Shingo Conference.

and David Kasprzak who blogs at My Flexible Pencil, wrote a review from the conference like I did. 

I am already looking forward to next year's conference on October 5-6 in Springfield, MA. not only for the fact is 20 minutes from my house but for the people and the learning experience. 

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Lean Quote: The Two Dimensions of Leadership

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel.  If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish." --Sam Walton.

Some leaders are very task-oriented; they simply want to get things done. Others are very people-oriented; they want people to be happy. And others are a combination of the two. If you prefer to lead by setting and enforcing tight schedules, you tend to be more production-oriented (or task-oriented). If you make people your priority and try to accommodate employee needs, then you're more people-oriented. 

A popular framework for thinking about a leader's 'task versus person' orientation was developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in the early 1960s. Called the Managerial Grid, or Leadership Grid, it plots the degree of task-centeredness versus person-centeredness and identifies five combinations as distinct leadership styles.

By plotting 'concern for production' against 'concern for people', the grid highlights how placing too much emphasis in one area at the expense of the other leads to low overall productivity. The model proposes that when both people and production concerns are high, employee engagement and productivity increases accordingly.

As Same Walton alludes the goal of effective leadership is to make others successful in performing their jobs!  Therefore consider where you place your concern.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Lean Environment is One Where They Present You With Solutions

I saw this comic at ONEFTE.com that made me pause a little. 


I know this comic is poking fun at the corporate lifestyle that many experience.  But as I reflected on this comic I thought to myself there are places in which this situation is true.  In a Lean Thinking organization it is the goal to have empowered employees to find problems and to provide solutions.  It is even encouraged that employees implement the solutions on their own. 

In previous posts (here and here) I talked about the Lean practices at FastCap.  They provide a great example where employees find problems and bring solutions.  Here is the latest example from FastCap's YouTube Channel about an office improvement:



So do you think there is a job where you get presented with solutions all day long?

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Lean Gone Lego - There must be a better way

I came across this short stop-animation film from Australia which delivers an insight into a better way of working in manufacturing called Lean gone Lego.



This video was developed by The Gordon, an online training company, supported by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework's E-learning Innovations business activity.  This project aims to empower workers to continuously come up with ideas to improve workplace productivity. 

While this is a fun video I think what is really intriguing is the use of Lean thinking in this project and in Australian manufacturing.  Lean aims to empower workers to continuously come up with ideas to improve workplace productivity.  For me there is no other answer.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Lean Quote: Effective Listening

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable—and one of the least understood. Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That's how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities." — Peter Nulty, National Business Hall of Fame Fortune Magazine

The following keys are a positive guideline to better listeing.  In fact, they are at the heart of delevoping better listening habits that could last a lifetime.


Now the choice is yours.  Are you going to be a bad listener or a good listener?

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Value Of Time

I use the scheduling application Tungle.me which syncs with my existing calendars for easy scheduling and efficiency.  The folks at Tungle.me are trying to understand the needs of the calendar of the future.  As part of this they took a look at illustrating what the value of time is:

The Calendar of the Future got us thinking about the value of time. Every day, hour and minute is more than a spot to fill on your calendar. It's more than a meeting, reminder or tick of the clock. It's our lives.
Time is not a renewable resource, and it waits for no one.
The team at Tungle.me thinks sometimes a little perspective is all we need.



I think Tungle.me has a great point:

Time waits for no-one so what are you waiting for?
Stop wasting time on things you can't control and focus on things you can.

For those who were unable to listen to me on the Lean Nation Radion Show yesterday you can listen to the podcast now.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guest on the Lean Nation Radio Show


I am excited to be a guest on the world famous The Lean Nation radio show Today, Wednesday, October 13 from 4-5pm (ET) on 790 AM Talk and Business, hosted by Karl Wadensten. We're going to discuss what Lean, leadership, and learning have in common.

I have been on the show twice previously.  During my first time I visited VIBCO during tax seaon where we held the show from the Rhode Island State House this past April.  My second appearance on the show was duing SME's EASTEC show this past May.

Lean and Government with Karl on Tax Day 2010

Lean Nation Show from EASTEC

You can listen to my appearance live on 790AM (Citadel Broadcasting, ABC Affiliate) in Providence, RI. The show is also globally available via a live audio stream at 790business.com. I would love to hear your opinions and answer your questions, so feel free to call in to the show. The call-in number is 401-437-5000 or toll free at 888-345-0790.

Can't tune in live? The podcast will be available after the show!

The Lean Nation is the hottest new show on 790AM and airs from 4-5pm, weekdays and streams online at 790business.com. The Lean Nation features real world examples and actionable advice from local and national business leaders on how to reinvent yourself into a lean operation in business and in life. The show's host, Karl Wadensten, is the president of VIBCO, a Rhode Island manufacturing company. Over the last 3 years VIBCO has created a Lean Revolution, using lean methodologies (based on the Toyota Production System). I am looking forward to the opportunity to visit the Gemba at VIBCO prior to the show.

Take a moment to visit The Lean Nation facebook page and join the nearly 500 members.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Management Improvement Carnival #112

I am pleased that John Hunter of the Curious Cat Blog has asked me to host the next edition of the Management Improvement Carnival.  The goal of this roundup is to highlight recent management posts of interest.  Here are a few highlights from some of my favorite writers:

What Leaders Need to Think? – Dragan Bosnjak says that leaders be concerned to create and train their successors.

Create a System That Lets People Take Pride in Their Work – John Hunter talks about allowing people to take pride in what they do instead of trying to empower them.

3 Questions to Ask Before Starting with Lean – Mark Graban suggests that you answer these fundamental questions when considering turning to Lean for improvement.
 
5 Reasons You Need to do DMAIC – Christian Paulsen shares a personal story explaining why you need to use DMAIC.

Overlooked Waste Reduction of Kanban – Matt Wrye reminds us that kanban can reduce information flow not just inventory but the real goal is about flow.

Establishing a Classroom Culture – David Kasprzak explores the question of “what id work was like going to school?”

How to Sustain a Lean Culture After 10 Years – Jon Miller shares lessons learned on how to operate a lean management system and sustain a lean culture.

When to Coach the Process, and When to Coach the Solution – Jamie Flinchbaugh examines when to coach someone on the process or method, or coach them on the solution.

Lean Quote: Leadership Can't Be Claimed Like Luggage at the Airport - Tim McMahon explains that leadership is not received but rather earned from what you do.

Find a Factoy Whisperer – Jeff Hajek shares 7 ways to find a mentor, someone who really understands the behavior of a production system.

Telling “How” Removes Responsibility - Mark Hamel explains why employees take more responsibility for the solution when you explain the "why" not the "how".


Hopefully you have discovered a couple of new blogs in this carnival.  Previous Management Improvement Carnival posts can be found here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lean Quote: Be Accountable, Not a Victim

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"When you blame others, you give up your power to change." ~ Dr. Robert Anthony


This accountability chart reflects the different levels of acceptance and non-acceptance of responsibility.  We all operate at different levels of the victim-accountability chart based on the situation.

The more we operate in the victim levels, the more energy is expended in blaming and making excuses.  We are less likely to produce the desired results.

The more we operate in the accountability levels, the more energy is expanded in acknowledging our role, taking responsibility for the problem, in finding solutions.  We are more likely to produce the desired results.

In conclusion, I think it is appropriate to end with this quote:

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” - Stephen R. Covey

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lean Fulfillment Stream Webinar

In a recent post I reviewed the most recent publication from Lean Enterprise Institute entitled Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream by Robert Martichenko and Kevin von Grabe.  

Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream

My summary of the book included:

Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream is a much needed and very complementary addition to the LEI workbook series. The workbook is easy to read with lots of illustrations and examples. It highlights a number of supply chain strategies that Lean organizations will want to understand. This is a good place to start for those lean leaders getting ready to tackle improvements in their supply chain. I recommend adding this book to your Lean library today.

Now the Lean Enterprise Institute is offering a free webinar by the authors of this book called Lean Logistics and Supply Chain Networks: 8 Guiding Principles. This is a proven method for applying lean principles to supply chains and logistics that turns them into smoothly flowing "fulfillment streams" while reducing the total cost of fulfillment.

Robert Martichenko and Kevin von Grabe at logistics provider LeanCor have identified eight guiding principles for lean fulfillment:

1. Eliminate waste in the fulfillment stream so that only value remains. (The types of waste are defects or correction, overproduction, waiting, not engaging employees, transportation, inventory, motion, and excessive processing.)
2. Make customer consumption visible to all members of the fulfillment stream.
3. Reduce inbound and outbound logistics lead time.
4. Create level flow
5. Use pull systems.
6. Increase velocity and reduce variation.
7. Collaborate and use process discipline.
8. Focus on total cost of fulfillment.

Robert and Kevin will explain how each guiding principle plays a critical role in creating a lean fulfillment stream during this free webinar on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. (Eastern).

You can also find more information on lean logistics from  LeanCor's  The Lean Logistics Blog.  This blog is place to discuss lean logistics and lean supply chain best practices, industry thought leadership, and continuous improvement.  It is written by LeanCor in-house and on-site lean logistics managers, engineers and consultants, this blog contains lean tools, tips, and tricks from lean practitioners doing the work every day.

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